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  #1  
Old 30 Nov 2007
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planning a trip to mexico!!!

so my friend and i are planning a month (maybe two) long trip through mexico and some of america. we'll be leaving from denver early march and taking i 25 (turns into 10) through new mexico and texas down to corpus christi. then we're crossing into mexico and heading down into the gulf coast to belize. we plan to stay in belize for a week or so and then head north, around gautemala, then cut over to the pacific coast. from there we will head up the coast until we eventually reach portland. he's staying in portland and i will make my way back to denver, staying in salt lake for a few days on the way. we will most likely stop at some obvious places such as cancun, acapulco, puerto vallarta, and maybe one of the cenotes south of cancun.

i have a 1997 honda shadow vt1100 shadow spirit
he has a 1983 honda magna vf1100

my questions are these?

how much dirt road will we encounter? do we NEED enduro tires or will we be okay with street tires?

what should the expected distance be between gas stations?

how safe is it to camp between towns down there? (sleeping bags and mosquito nets)

what are some good landmarks/towns that are a must see? mayan ruins maybe?

what are some towns that two non spanish fluent gringos should avoid?

what are some items that are a must have for the trip? what items should we avoid taking? (weapons and such)

anything else i may have not thought of?
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  #2  
Old 30 Nov 2007
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I personally wouldn't bother with Acapulco again. Apart from the cliff divers, there wasn't much to see apart from rich holidaymakers. Again, I'm not sure if I'd bother with Cancun either unless you really like expensive and busy holiday resorts full of drunk American students.

Do however see Oaxaca, San Christobel De Las Casas, (centre of) Mexico City, Puerto Escondido & Zippolite, Aguas Azul nr Palenque etc. Loads of good places really. I found Baja kind of boring but I basically zipped through it in 2 days, I'm sure you'd have more fun if you were doing some dirt riding though. It took us a month to ride from one end of Mexico to the other. Just don't rush through it all.

In Guatemala, definitely see Tikal (ruins), Antigua etc. Guatemala City was really horrendous for traffic though.

The roads are generally pretty good, just know that there will be 'topes' approximately every 20m or so (well it felt like it!) so take it easy or you'll blow your fork seals (I'd bring some spares). They aren't always easy to see.

Oh, and you have about 3 months to learn some Spanish- it goes a long way.
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Last edited by MikeS; 30 Nov 2007 at 15:12.
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  #3  
Old 4 Dec 2007
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Mexico trip

how much dirt road ? if you wish you can do a whole trip on asphalt with only dirt or gravel being in the odd construction zone. The choice is yours. Street tires is all you need.
gas - to - gas distance ? varies , but on paved routes it is readily available every 100 to 150 km and much often closer. In north Mexico deserts tehy will post signs for teh distance to next gas in the occasional section greater than 200km to next gas. If your tank range is 200km or more you have no worry.
towns to avoid ? - Colon, Panama, Any other places not worth worrying about if you watch your manners and stay off the streets in the barrios at night. You can make or find trouble anywhere if you are so inclined.
camping between towns - possible if you insist , but cheap hotels are a better alternative, no need to sweat it out in the bush and worry in your sleep about getting surprise visitors. In town you get to see the local lifestyle while bike is safely parked in the hotel.An d you are close to a toilet and shower all night and close to restaurants.

must have items ? - what do you think you need ? .If you can ride around the US with the kit you have you can do Mexico and CA with it too. If you find you forgot something you can buy it underway. Perhaps a set of spare brake pads, oil filter , just make sure you start with a well maintained freshly inspected machine then failures are less likely
must NOT have items? - gun s , drugs
must see places ? Depends on your tastes. Mike makes a good start. If in the Yucatan see Uxmal and Chichen Itza and Tulum .Near Mexico DF see Teotihuacan and the Volcano Popo has a spectacular sight from Atlixco.Nevado de Colima is a nice view also .
But rereading your post I see you want t o return to Mexico then go across to the Pacific. .side.Have you considered crossing Guatemala to get to that side? If you visit Palenque on your way down you can still hit the Chiapas highlands from the Pacific route on your return leg,San Cristobal etc. You can visit Tikal in Guatemala as Mike suggested, spectacular and not that difficult to get to, except for the first 24 km of gravel ( a bit slimy and muddy if it rains ) from the Belize border but after that it will be all pavement across Guatemala on major national highways..

Last edited by Sjoerd Bakker; 4 Dec 2007 at 20:19.
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  #4  
Old 4 Dec 2007
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I would like to add, if your only packing street tires, there's no point in camping. Accessible spots for you are few and far between. Go to the cheap hotels and experience the life you find there. Hang out in the plaza and watch the famalies play with their children and converse with the curious locals. I always pack a tent and sleeping bag,but i tend to wander far off the beaten path, sometimes for days, on a fully equiped off-road machine. I think your situation will be a little different considering the bikes you will be using. Remember, it's not like the US where it's quite easy to find campsites on the side of the highway. Camping is a lot of fun, but you have to do it a lot to make packing al that gear worth it. All this being said, its a good idea to pack a light sleeping bag for those nights where the bedding in your cheap hotel may be suspect!
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  #5  
Old 5 Dec 2007
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E mail me and I can give you a nice loop on the Yucatan
Brian
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  #6  
Old 6 Dec 2007
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Mexico Bike Insurance

After reading threads on the subject I found several of the suggested businesses are now out of business. Which is the "latest and greatest" right now? Which type coverages are best and which are a waste? What should a "ballpark" premium be for a bike worth $5000 for one mouth travel? Thank you for your input
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  #7  
Old 6 Dec 2007
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You can't insure a foreign bike in Mexico, except maybe for an exorberant cost. You will need liability insurance though. I use Sanbourns. Cost me less than $200 for one year.
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Old 6 Dec 2007
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I used to take my old Suzuki GS1000G camping but that was in Ireland and Europe, just a set of cheepo throw-over panniers and bungee the tent to the rear end. Between two, you can split the cooking stuff up. I'd forget any wild camping in Mexico with those kind of bikes though, even my BMW GS1150 kept getting buried in the sand every time I went off the tracks. If it's really hot, the last thing you want to do is camp anyway. Mexico's a bit more expensive for accommodation than South America but even then, you'll only be paying $15-20 per room if you look around.



[QUOTE=mollydog;162181]No camping. Neither of your bikes will be well suited to carrying camping gear plus all the stuff you'll need. Wild Camping is not always safe. Hotels. A much better way to travel, IMO QUOTE]
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  #9  
Old 6 Dec 2007
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Mexico insurance

Hi John,
For the motorcycle insurance you require for Mexico you are pretty well limited to getting third party liability . Most insurance companies will simply not provide fire, theft or collision, too great a risk of having to pay out is their reasoning.If they do offer it, rare, it will be extremely expensive and with a high deductible which you are unlikely to exceed with a minor shunt.
Rather than trying to buy it over the internet I suggest leaving it untill you reach the TEXAS border town where you plan to set off into Mexico. Every town will have an insurance seller for various companies from Mexico, the only kind recognised in Mexico.
As Ron suggests , Sanborn's Insurance is a good source who have representing agencies in most bigger Texas border towns, as well as on-line sales ( Sanborn's Insurance for Mexico - Buy your Mexico Auto Insurance Including Car and Travel Insurance today.). I recommend going into one of their offices in person, but that will require you to be in one of their facilities during normal working day office hours. In person you can ask any remaining questions and you can pick up some of their freebies like a road map or one of their travel log guidebooks. Their head office in McAllen is a bit stingy on this free stuff but their agents in Laredo and Eagle Pass give away more things.
Sanborn's rates are not the highest , and if you do not want to spring for a whole year you can figure on about $7 per day for about a month so the year isn't bad( rates decline with stays of longer duration, a single day visit would cost about $20 when you add up the actual insurance and the fixed policy fee) This year I gave them $114 to cover my bike for this liability insurance from 15 March to 15 April on a prorated daily policy, not an annual .
Click on their website and you can also read news updates on current road conditions in teh area where Hurricane Noel caused flooding in October.Good stuff.
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  #10  
Old 6 Dec 2007
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Thanx Sjoerd!

You have been a wealth of "Mexican" information and we are ready now and chomping at the bit to get South!
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  #11  
Old 6 Dec 2007
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Insurance

You can get a free quote right here online. it is very simple and I have used the company several times. Auto Insurance for Mexico & Mexican Travel Insurance – Mexpro.com




Quote:
Originally Posted by dzguy View Post
After reading threads on the subject I found several of the suggested businesses are now out of business. Which is the "latest and greatest" right now? Which type coverages are best and which are a waste? What should a "ballpark" premium be for a bike worth $5000 for one mouth travel? Thank you for your input
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  #12  
Old 7 Dec 2007
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Mexico insurance

Interesting site Bo, just did a comparison with the rates I paid and among the various companies the Mexpro site sells.The lowest rate I can get for a month on my BMW 1100gs on Mexpro is still $22 more than what I got in person this past spring at Sanborns. There is perhaps the convenience factor to consider , but I like shopping for insurance in person. I admit to being downright frugal (cheap is o.k too) and figure I can use the money saved better for a hotel or two.If you know you are limited for time to a short trip sit down and pencil it out first if buying the annual policy will really save any money for the short span of your visit compared to the pro-rated -days policy.
And tamaro , Pat makes a valid point about your route selection which seems primarily focused on doing a rapid run around the perimeter of Mexico and it misses much of the really interesting scenic colonial interior. Was Corpus Christi selected as a start point for a personal reason or was it just because it appears on what you hope is a fast route to Belize through an area with lots of hoped for English speaking towns? If you take in to consideration the time taken to get to CC you can actually get down to Belize faster if you entered Mexico at El Paso and went down the desert highways to central Mexico,the DF and out to the Gulf Coast and then the Yucatan.
El Ingles is not espoken by many folks as a daily user , but fear not your limited Spanish skills will be a good start and will soon improve if you will take the trouble to dive in and babble away.Nobody is going to make fun of you , they will gladly help you .

Last edited by Sjoerd Bakker; 8 Feb 2008 at 18:22.
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  #13  
Old 17 Dec 2007
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Paging Sjoerd!

Due to silly rules here I can't send Sjoerd a PM. Can someone send him a PM on my behalf? I'm interested in getting a copy of his book. Thanks in advance
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  #14  
Old 17 Dec 2007
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Sjoerd's hotel guide?

Quote:
Originally Posted by mollydog View Post
See Real de Catorce, San Luis Potosi, Zacatecas, Guanajuato, San Miguel de Allende, Dolores Hidalgo then head south to Guate.
EXCELLENT SUGGESTION! These places are all great places to see and stay. Just note that Real de Catorce can be reached via a paved road but that road is about 15 miles (can't remember the exact distance) of cobblestone.

Quote:
No camping. Neither of your bikes will be well suited to carrying camping gear plus all the stuff you'll need. Wild Camping is not always safe. Hotels. A much better way to travel, IMO.
Again, good suggestion.

Quote:
Buy Sjoerd's Hotel guide for Mexico.
This was recommended over on the Adventure Rider site. Can anyone (Sjoerd?) tell me how to get my hands on this.

I'm planning on flying down to Panama City in January, buying a R100GS from a friend, then riding with him and a few others through Central America to the Mexican border then riding solo through Mexico. I know a few places to stay in Mexico but plan on exploring places I haven't been before and this guide would be very helpful. If anyone can tell me how to get it I'd really appreciate it.

Look for a red R100GS if you're in Mexico in February. Would love to sip a few cervezas with fellow riders.
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  #15  
Old 18 Dec 2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mollydog View Post
I would skip the Gulf Coast and do the Central Highlands instead....the Bajio. not Baja....Bahi'o. See Real de Catorce, San Luis Potosi, Zacatecas, Guanajuato, San Miguel de Allende, Dolores Hidalgo then head south to Guate. See the Pacific coast on your way back north. Will be HOT by then. (April). Or do the Pac coast on your way south (March) and do the Bajio when coming north. (its cooler due to elevation).
+1

The East coast of mexico until you get pretty far south is uninteresting, IMO. I prefer the exact route Mollydog states (and have actually driven most of it, too!).

Although.. maybe because of where you live, driving through mountians isn't anything special? If that is the case, then you could head through south Texas -> Ciudad Victoria -> Tampico -> Veracruz -> Villahermosa then onto the yucatan / quinana roo.

Hopefully next year before I take my big trip, I'm going to try a similiar route as a warm up. I've always wanted to checkout all the ruins down there.

Also, as other posts have stated: Learn some spanish! On my last two week trip, aside from other travelers (who can be a GREAT help), I didn't encounter many english speakers. Even in Real de Catorce, which is touristy, there was only one guy who spoke english. IMO, this is a great thing as it really forced me to really use spanish and showed me what I knew and where I had "growth opportunities".

I now meet up with a spanish tutor 1X a week that I found off of craigslist. Actually, if anyone in the houston area wants to learn spanish... I have a great tutor!
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